[DEHAI] Tarnishing the image of Eritrea

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From: Yacob Zecharias (japhet_z@yahoo.com)
Date: Sat Apr 18 2009 - 16:18:02 EDT

It seems that its Eritrean hunting season for the Western press. Recently Human Rights Watch reported that Eritrea was fast becoming a giant prison. This report was carried by the likes of the BBC. What the BBC,supposedly the bastion of accurate and impartial reporting, failed to do was have a closer look at the Report and its sources.
The authors of the Report, themselves admit that the primary source of their information was the accounts of Eritrean asylum seekers. As they say, Turkeys don't vote for Christmas and an Eritrean that has crossed the Sahara, made the perilous voyage across the sea and is waiting for an opportune time to slip into the UK, will obviously have a biased point of view. In reading the report one can be dazzled by the number of references and footnotes. On checking the sources it soon becomes apparent that the report is not based on any meaningful investigation, but on reports from websites like Awate and Assena which are well known in fabricating stories.
It seems the usual rules of validating sources when reporting stories has been thrown out of the window.
The BBC has no compunction to write uncorroborated stories about Eritrea, but when it comes to reporting about the Sexuality of Peter Mandelson,the alleged incident of Prince Charles with a servant or even about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it suddenly cowers in the corner paralysed by fear.
It seems that America is now threatening Eritrea with military action, much to the delight of Ethiopians and the so called Opposition. I would have thought the new American President had more pressing matters than plan an invasion of Eritrea. It is rather interesting, that although most of those involved in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis, there is no mention about attacking Saudi Arabia to rid the world of terrorists.

Eritrea has also been accused of hosting the Sudanese President after he had been indicted. At the same time, Gordon Brown and Obama invite to dinner the likes of Meles Zenawi who probably has more blood on his hands than Bashir. It seems that Somalis and some parts of the Ethiopian society are fair game and their death and displacement is not worthy of a court sitting.
What the Human Rights Report and the apparent threat of military action means is that, Eritrea is doing something right. The powers to be are sensing that Eritrea might break through the wall of poverty they had built. To me it is no coincidence that in the same week development programmes in conjunction with Qatar were announced, the Western media and organisations begin to spew out negative and alarming stories about Eritrea. So much for the 'Free press' of the West.
The principle of Self Reliance, was not born out of academic discussions but out of the realisation through our History, that if Eritrea is to develop and achieve its aim, Eritreans must only look towards their own toil and initiative. The sooner the Eritrean Opposition realise that there is no knight in shinning armour to come to their rescue, the better.


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